Lessons About Leadership and Purpose from Danielle Drummond
As an executive coach, I am inspired by leaders who make decisions that are consistent with their values and exhibit courage as they lead others to achieve not only the goals of their organizations but their individual purpose. Serving a community as lively and diverse as Lakeland means I don’t have to look far to find shining examples of leadership excellence to offer inspiration. Today’s column features Danielle Drummond, President and CEO Elect of Lakeland Regional Health. Ms. Drummond was selected in 2018 as one of the nation’s Top 25 COOs in Healthcare by Modern Healthcare for her responsibilities overseeing facilities, joint ventures and growth initiatives.
Q: What leadership lessons were most valuable in your preparation for the role of Lakeland Regional Health CEO?
Making sure I stop to listen and learn before jumping into solving a problem or making a big decision has been an important leadership lesson for me. I highlight that because of my unconventional career path to becoming a health system CEO. Transitioning into healthcare, I didn’t have experience or background in every area that I had responsibility for, so it was critical to spend time with content matter experts. Spending that time not only established my credibility, it also built meaningful working relationships in various aspects of the healthcare system. Leveraging their subject matter expertise with my training in engineering and performance management adds value as we work alongside each other to solve problems.
Prioritizing is another valuable leadership lesson. Often, leaders face a countless list of things that need to get done in a given day, month, quarter, or year. Taking time to think through where you need to focus to move your organization forward is crucial. It is helpful to pause before addressing a major issue to ensure that we’re working on the right solution for the problem and one that is going to allow us to achieve our goals collectively.
Q: How do you hope Lakeland Regional Health (LRH) will make a difference in our community in the future?
Having great health care access goes hand in hand with creating great communities. The level and caliber of health care services provided at LRH are on par with what you might see in a major metropolitan area, and we want to continue building upon that. Our hope is that LRH emerges as a partner for the community in proactively improving the overall health of our citizens, not just the place people come when they’re sick.
Additionally, I’m passionate about making access to health care and the coordination of healthcare services easier. It can be daunting to navigate the healthcare system and ensure that you’re getting what you need, when you need it. Our goal is that LRH can make strides to improve the patient experience and simplify access to the healthcare system while lowering the burden on patients and their families.
Q: What advice do you have for professional women struggling to manage work-life “blend”?
Accepting that it’s impossible to achieve the perfect work-life blend has been a learning process. Setting realistic expectations is important as is not beating yourself up if you feel out of balance on one day, in one aspect of your life. I know I’m not the mom that can be at school helping every day, but by making it a priority and with some advanced planning, I can attend field trips, sports games, and special events. Don’t be afraid to ask for the help you need. No one is super-human, so accepting assistance from others is a gift, not a failure.
Q: What advice can you offer women just starting their career?
Be confident and keep going despite uncertainty. Recognize that there will be times when you are unsure about taking that next career step. More often than not, you won’t regret taking a leap of faith. In fact, it’s more likely you will regret not seizing the opportunity.
Keep an open mind. You never know where or when that next great opportunity may arise. If you’re close-minded you may miss an opportunity to go on a different trajectory.
Q: What sense of purpose guides you in your work and in your life?
The value of family is my guidepost, personally and professionally. Being raised in a close family helped guide and shape who I am and raising my two daughters has been my life’s greatest joy. Because family is at the center of everything I do, I recognize the key role that family plays in healthcare and healing. We’ve strived to design new buildings and implement new programs that are not only influenced by our patient’s needs, but also their family’s needs.
Families are an integral part of the healthcare delivery process and contribute to successful patient outcomes. The family’s role in health care gives me a sense of purpose in the work that we’re doing every day at LRH.
Learn about Emily’s professional development programs for women leaders.